OSHA requires a pre-shift inspection of all lift trucks before they are placed into service. But simply conducting the inspection does not complete the task. You also need to have documentation in order to prove that inspections really did take place and that appropriate action was taken to address any issues.
Making sure there are no defects or safety concerns is a fundamental step in reducing the staggering number of forklift accidents. Forklifts are routinely cited as atop 10 offender of OSHA’s regulations and cause roughly 20,000 injuries and 100 fatalities every year, many of which could have been avoided if proper protocol had been followed.
What method do you rely on to get the job done?
Any forklift training program must include a section on vehicle inspection and maintenance. But many forklift operators are either not aware of this requirement or have no choice but to fill out the safety checklists by hand. If you are manually addressing OSHA’s long list of important safety checks, you risk running into several issues:
- Paper-based reporting raises the risk of human error. If the operator enters the incorrect information or skips some checks, any issues will take longer to rectify and leaves you vulnerable during an OSHA audit.
- Safety violations may take longer to report. The more time that passes before an administrator reviews the paperwork, the greater the risk of an accident occurring.
- A noncompliant vehicle remains in use. Since the checklist is not connected to a wireless reporting network, maintenance may never be notified, increasing the risk it could keep operating even after defects have been detected.
So what’s a better solution? The quick answer: Electronic Safety Checklists (SCL). SCL automate the more time consuming paper-based process and ensure regulations compliance. Unless the checks have been performed, the equipment simply cannot be operated (Note: TotalTrax offers multi-lingual safety checklists for automated OSHA compliance). Automated notifications of SCL failures also serve to highlight safety issues, equipment repairs, and maintenance.
When there is never a question about expired certifications or lagging upkeep of the forklift fleet, safety consequently improves. An optimal maintenance schedule also helps managers make the most of the equipment, reduce downtime, and optimize productivity.
Considering the enormous costs of forklift impacts in terms of human suffering, lost work time, fines, and increased insurance premiums, the importance of accurately performing safety checklists cannot be overstated (you may recall last year’s $15.2 million payout to a man who was severely injured when a forklift ran over his foot). Proper use, awareness of rules and regulations, and equipment monitoring can make for a trifecta of safety and efficiency.